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Calcium question

Discussion in 'Female Health & Fitness' started by Lisa Stone, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    I'm putting this in here because it's primarily a female issue, I think.
    My mom had a bone density test done and while she does not have osteoporosis, she did have something called osteopena (sp?) , which she made sound like a pre-osteoporosis condition.
    Anyway, I decided I ought to take a calcium supplement because I'm also small boned, and while I was at Costco the other day I picked up Viactiv soft calcium chews. They are basically a calcium supplement in a candy chew (first two ingredients are corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup) and so are not so great nutrition-wise.
    Is there a better way of getting the proper amount of calcium? I have always heard that milk is so processed that it loses the calcium content or that calcium isn't absorbed into the body properly from milk.
    Does anyone have any ideas about this?
     
  2. Danielle

    Danielle Well-Known Member

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    I take a "pill" supplement of calcium daily. It isessential for so somany important functions in our body...I think it is often neglected. The thing with calcium is that there are many different kinds and people react differently to do. When I first started taking it...I was taking the 'wrong' kind for my body, once I started with the proper one, I felt an amazing difference.

    Anyhow, just my two cents...
    Danielle
    :jumping:
     
  3. Andrew M

    Andrew M Well-Known Member

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    Calcium

    Milk and other dairy products are usually the best source of calcium. I assume that you are taking a similar amount of care with your diet as John is. To be perfectly frank, I doubt that you really need to specifically supplement your diet with calcium, a balanced diet is sufficient, but if you want to take extra care, virtually any multivitamin will be more than up to the job. 100% of the RDA is all anyone needs, scaled for size however. Most of the figures given are based on an 'average' male (70kg).

    The most important determinant of your chance of getting osteoporosis in the future is the amoung of bone and bone density you build up in your youth. The peak bone density is at around the age of 35 or so, and after that, I'm afraid that it's downhill from there. The accepted figure is a loss of approximately 1% per year for both sexes up until the menopause, when women then accelerate to 2-3% per year. HRT will slow that loss back to male levels, but there are other risks of HRT, which are a big thing in the news recently in the UK.

    Exercise (particularly load bearing) will build up your spine (etc.), and a half decent diet is all you need to supply the required calcium.

    Andrew.
     
  4. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    thanks for answering so quickly, Danielle and Andrew :) I do take a multi (one a day for women) and it contains 450mg of (elemental) calcium. I also have skim milk in the morning with my cereal- I was just a bit concerned because of my mom's situation. Thanks again !
     
  5. brownguy

    brownguy Well-Known Member

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    Just want to add a bit more.

    Women between the ages of 19-49 (who aren't pregnant or nursing) need about 100 mg of elemental calcium a day. If you have certain risk factors (female, caucasian or asian, small body frame, family history,poor diet, lack of physical activity) than you probably want to take more. I usually tell women between 19-49 to get about 1000-1200 mg of elemental calcium a day. It's true that peak bone mass is reached at age 20-30 for women (and mid 30's for men -- guys should be getting their calcium as well).

    Several important things to know in order to maximize calcium intake:

    Dairy products, salmon, certain vegtables contain calcium that is easily absorbed. A lot of the calcium in many green vegetables such as spinach and rhubarb is poorly absorbed so you shouldn't count that as part of your daily calcium intake.

    Excessive protein can cause calcium loss through the urine. The Canada Food Guide recommends 2-3 servings of protein a day (1 serving - 2-3 oz of meat, fish or poultry). Although I've heard other sources mention this, I also know there's a lot of contradictory information out there, and "excessive" might mean something other than what the Canada Food Guide stipulates.

    If you have a balanced diet, you might be getting enough, but I'd track your calcium to be sure. Here's some figures to help you.

    Milk (whole, 2%,1%, skim) 315 mg/250 ml
    Cottage Cheese 87/125 ml
    Mozzerella Cheese 269 mg/50 g
    Roasted Chicken 13 mg /90 g
    Bread (unfortified) 25 mg /30 g
    Broccoli 38/125 ml
    Banana 10mg/175
    Beans (garbanzo, pinto,kidney) 90mg/250 ml

    Remember that their are different types of calcium out there (carbonate, citrate, lactate) and you should note the elemental calcium in them, not the actual strenght of the salt.

    Don't take your calcium supplement with other sources of calcium in order to increase absorption. If you're taking calcium carbonate (which I think is in Viactiv) take it with food. If you're taking other tupes of calcium, it doesn't matter. There is a limit to how much your body will absorb at one time (which I can't remember right now) so don't take all your max daily amount at one time.

    With your balanced diet you're probably getting enough calcium. Some multivitamins have a lot of calcium (like the women's one a day - 450 mg) and some don't (like Centrum Adults - 162 mg).

    Did the doctor put your mom on any medication? At this point she may be an ideal candidate for drug therapy.
     
  6. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    Adult mammals are not meant to eat/drink dairy!!!!!!! And certainly not from cows(or any other animal for that matter). If we were meant to continue to drink milk, then we would never stop nursing on our mothers. There is a reason why people become lactose intolerant- we stop producing lactase because we are not supposed to be ingesting lactose.
    Taking calcium supplements alone is not good enough. You need to make sure you are also taking magnesium, boron, vitamin k, and vitamin d. Dont use milk for vitamin d as it is a synthetic vitamin d(d3). I belive fish oil contains a nautral vitamin d (d2). Neither of those sources though are the same as the vitamin d that you would get from sun exposure.
     
  7. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    Brownguy, Thank you so so much for that information, that was very helpful! I will check my diet and see how it measures up :)
    As for my Mom, they did indeed put her on a prescription calcium supplement- I believe it was a choice between an inhaled product or a pill and her doctor suggested the pill form.
    Thanks again!
     
  8. brownguy

    brownguy Well-Known Member

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    Your body can use Vit D2 or D3. There's no difference in the efficacy of either. Your body does use sunlight to convert Vit D into it's active form, but your liver and kidney also metabolize the Vit D from your diet into the active form. So really it doesn't matter where you get it, as long as you get it. The recommended daily dose is 400-800 IU

    Getting enough calcium is difficult if you're not taking in any milk products. Unless the person is lactose intolerant or allergic, I couldn't recommend not taking dairy products.
     
  9. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    Im lactose intolerant and allergic, and I am doing fine without milk. Ive never broken/fractured/etc a bone. It is not neccesary.
    A little FYI:
    In my sister apartment away at college, she has 3 other roommates. None of them drink milk. They just got a new roommate, and she brought the first bottle of milk to the apartment. The new girl just broke her leg...... :confused:
     
  10. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    but Fudgam, you are 15 years old, your sister is what? 21 or so at the most? I would imagine the damage comes later in life.
     
  11. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    But isnt it at my age that I am laying down the most bodily tissues and bones(aside from infancy)? If I was calcium deficient, then it would show.
    But yea, my sisters 20.
     
  12. guava

    guava Elite Member
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    Back to the topic

    Tums are the best and cheapest. (calcium antacid chewable tablets)

    The fruit one are nice and fruity! :drool:

    Each tablet contains 300 mg elemental calcium. Chew 4 a day to get your recommended intake, or one less for each glass of milk you drink.

    Your body doesn't store calcium, so you can't take it all at once.
     
  13. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    well that's interesting. I never would have thought to use an antacid product for calcium. LOL. I'll check it out.
     
  14. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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  15. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    Thanks for posting that Fudgam. I think I'll stick to a calcium supplement pill after I finish up this Viactiv.
     
  16. Ansett

    Ansett Well-Known Member

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    Guava's advice is very valid. While too much calcium on a chronic basis (or too much anything) creates problems, the equivelant of 4 tums a day is not too much if the daily recommended amount is 1200 mg and that is your only source. Drugs (and nutrient supplements are drugs) are commonly used "off label" (meaning for purposes for which they were not specifically intended) when appropriate. Antacids containing calcium salts are useful for calcium supplementation. There are a couple things to consider though; calcium can cause constipation and it is also known for binding up phosphates (an effect which is taken advantage of with patients in chronic renal failure, interestingly). But that is calcium doing that, not "antacids". A supplement would do it too. Rolaids has a new formulation which contains calcium and magnesium. While calcium causes constipation, magnesium causes diarrhea so the thought is these effects would cancel each other out. :tu: And if you want to avoid the calcium binding up the phosphates in your diet, then don't take it with your meals or with your other supplements. You can find antacids with aluminum, calcium, or magnesium. You can even find combinations, but I don't know of any that have aluminum and calcium together so don't worry about that. Just read the label.
    As for the idea that raising the pH of the stomach is harmful...well that's what antacids are supposed to do. Contrary to common belief, the pH of the stomach is very near neutral between meals anyway. It is the presence of food that cause acid to be produced. Maybe Brownguy, an educated pharmacist, would care to comment?
     
    #16 Ansett, Feb 18, 2004
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2004
  17. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    Magnesium is also great if youve pulled a muscle recently or you've got muscle cramps. I know women who take it for cramps and they say it does wonders for them.
     
  18. Lisa Stone

    Lisa Stone Senior Member
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    :eek: This is all very confusing.... I'll just read up on everything I think

    Thanks for all of the opinions and information!
     
  19. Fudgam

    Fudgam Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to mention, taking too much magnesium will stop your heart. Just thought you guys should know that ;)
     
  20. brownguy

    brownguy Well-Known Member

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    Hey, Ansett. You seem to be pretty knowledgeable about this stuff...do you work in a health-related profession?

    You're right on everything. Stomach acid is usually around a pH of 5 or so when you're not eating, and then drops to <2 when you start to eat. Stomach acid doesn't really help digest your food as much as people think. It's there to destroy bacteria and activate an enzyme called pepsin. Pepsin (helps digests protein) is activated by low pH and loses its activity at higher pHs. I've never actually run across any literature saying how much antacids and other medications affect this -- it's a good question. Some digestion starts to take place right in your mouth, some takes place in the stomach, and the rest in your intestines.

    I've read conflicting reports about calcium causing constipation - some sources say it does, others say evidence is lacking.

    The thing about Tums and other antacids is that they can actually cause rebound stimulation of gastric acid. The other thing is some people have taken too much calcium by eating antacids and drinking milk and ended up with something called milk-alkali syndrome (affects your kidneys)

    So, in short, I say stick with regular calcium supplements if you can.

    1)You won't have to worry about an increase in bacteria in your stomach -- not harmful as far as I know, but who wants that,

    2) or about protein being insuffuciently digested. Sorry, I don't really know how much of an effect this has. But I'm pretty sure gastric breakdown of protein is not absolutely necessary.

    Fudgam brought up a good point -- make sure you're taking your multivitamin every day. There should be enough of other minerals in it to help aid in the absorption of calcium. The other thing is that because you're weight training and eating right at such a young age, you've removed a lot of risk for develping osteoporosis.

    If I've missed anything, or if the information doesn't seem correct, please let me know.
     

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